Achiral multi-block liquid crystals are not expected to form polar domains. Recently, however, films of nanoaggregates formed by multi-block rodcoil molecules were identified as the first example of achiral single-component materials with macroscopic polar properties. By solving an Ising-like model with dipolar and asymmetric short-range interactions, we show here that polar domains are stable in films composed of aggregates as opposed to isolated molecules. Unlike classical molecular systems, these nanoaggregates have large intralayer spacings (a ≈ 8 nm), leading to a reduction in the repulsive dipolar interactions which oppose polar order within layers. In finite-thickness films of nanostructures, this effect enables the formation of polar domains. We compute exactly the energies of the possible structures consistent with the experiments as a function of film thickness at zero temperature (T). We also provide Monte Carlo simulations at non-zero T for a disordered hexagonal lattice that resembles the smectic-like packing in these nanofilms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)